USC TESOL Advisory Board: Directional Plans for the Future of the Program

I graduated from the MAT – TESOL program while living and teaching in Korea. I was introduced to the USC Rossier community 6,000 miles away from the university’s Los Angeles campus. In addition, I learned about different pedagogies associated with teaching English as well as how to build a foundation for continued success in teaching and in the MAT – TESOL program.

After earning my degree in Korea, I’ve been applying the lessons I learned in the USC Rossier program to my real-life teaching experiences abroad — from classrooms in New Zealand to Ethiopia. In doing so, I was able to bridge the gap between different cultural norms, traditions and expectations in the classroom through constructive teaching practices. (USC Rossier’s Alumni Association’s motto, “Lifelong and Worldwide” certainly applies to my current set of circumstances and serves as a reminder of the international network which I am a part of.)



As an alumnus, I am still involved in university events. Recently, I was invited to join a TESOL Advisory Board, chaired by one of my former professors and current MAT – TESOL Program Coordinator Dr. Emmy Min. The panel featured 10 individuals, with representatives from four countries and continents, and we met via the same interactive Adobe platform used in the USC Rossier MAT – TESOL program. I was honored to join esteemed leaders in the TESOL field, some of whom I had previous interactions with through the program, and others of whom I had heard about with high regard. The board consists of collaborative input from representatives of the USC faculty, as well as members of the American Language Center at UCLA, UC Riverside, KyngHee University in Seoul, and the Fullbright Program in Spain. The Advisory Board sparked larger conversations about innovative ideas, current issues in education as well as the future of education.

There are future plans to implement an undergraduate minor starting in September, which will allow incoming students to explore the field, hopefully raising interest for future teaching consideration. Critical skill sets are needed to provide students to become good teachers, and it is the panel’s belief that implementation of this should extend beyond the master’s program.

Similarly, technology continues to play a significant role in education, and part of the discussion revolved around the importance of integrating technology into the classroom and using modernized teaching techniques. I have witnessed what it is like to learn in classrooms around the world with no electricity or a great deal of technology. The program prepared me for both scenarios and it is the Advisory Board’s goal to continue to expand upon these ideas.

From my first MAT class in the fall of 2011 to my invitation to participate on the USC Rossier TESOL Advisory Board, I am grateful for the opportunities I’ve been afforded through my relationship with the university. I have been able to grow as a student, as a teacher and as a person, learning not only classroom instruction, but perhaps more importantly, what it takes to be a global citizen of education, teach through culture and share ideas through different languages. I wish to thank my colleagues with whom I continue to learn so much from. Until we meet again! I’ll continue growing in my teaching career.

Matthew Jellick received his M.A. in TESOL from USC Rossier while teaching in Korea. He moved from East Asia to East Africa and is currently an English Language Fellow in Ethiopia, teaching on behalf of the U.S. Department of State. He misses the tacos from L.A. and the kimchi from Seoul. You can follow him on Twitter @mjellick.